Sneaker Game meets Art #3: Michael Lau.


Michael Lau has flipped the conception of the toy understood as a mass-produced, low-cost product, and positioned it in the luxury market of art and limited-edition objects.

The most beautiful Sneakers made by the “Godfather of designer Toy.”

Known as the “Godfather of designer Toy,” Michael Lau is an artist born in Hong Kong in the 1970s, at the height of industrialization. At that time, the Southeast Metropolis of China exported various kinds of toys all over the world. Lau accumulated and treasured each and every toy like a small treasure, not playing with it, but caring for it like a work of art. His growing passion born from childhood led him to become a designer of toys, conceived as an art form.

After completing his studies, he expands his knowledge toward the creation of Action Figures and shortly thereafter, in 1999, he would create a series destined to make Collectible Toy history: “Gardener,” 99 original 12-inch action figures that would later become iconic characters in his artistic output. Due to the global success of the series, Lau will exhibit at the Hong Kong Art Centre: the exhibition will overturn the common conception of the toy as a mass-produced, low-cost, low-quality product, positioning it in the luxury market of art objects and in limited editions.

After this exhibition, “Gardener” Action Figures will come to several cities in Japan, London, Paris and the Taipei Museum of Contemporary Art.

“All Art is a Toy; all Toys are Art.”

Michael Lau

When he states, “all art is a toy,” Lau is referring to the spasmodic pursuit enacted by almost all collectors, including-and perhaps especially-Sneakers collectors, and their approach to the “Sneakers Game”; whereas the notion that “all toys are art,” refers to his approach to Toy, since childhood, handled as an art form.

And just about Sneakers and Collectibles, Michael Lau has collaborated with some of the world’s greatest footwear brands on some of the most amazing Sneakers Culture releases, which set in motion that “search game” already mentioned.

Check out Machel Lau’s most beautiful releases below!

Michael Lau x Nike Dunk SB Low Gardener Wood

Considered one of the most beautiful Dunk SBs ever made, this 2006 model takes inspiration from the wooden board of skateboarding and the “NY FAT” character from “Gardener.” To call it a limited edition is really limiting, this SB was only offered for sale at Nike’s Hong Kong flagship store in Central, the remaining very few pairs, all given as gifts to friends and family; the box shoe is made of fine walnut wood, inside, the sneaker is correlated with the NY FAT action figure. Everything from the upper, to the box, to the toy remembers or is entirely made of wood; completing the sophistication of the design is the graphic of holes and nail holes on the dunk silhouette.

Estimated value: €15,081.00 to €1,005,370.00

Nike Air Force 1 Low Supreme I/O Tz ‘Michael Lau’.

The Air “Crazy” Force 1 is a 2008 release and is the ninth launch of the “Nike 1World AF1” project: a program that saw the participation of 18 personalities, including artists, creatives, influencers, sportsmen, musicians, and designers, including Lau.

This version is a “bizarre” tribute for those who love Sneakers madly: the silhouette, outer and inner box, action figure is all a reference to an asylum room, where the protagonist is a character locked in a straitjacket.

Other features of the Force 1:

The upper is made entirely of padded white leather, quilted matelassé style, like the rooms of old asylums. The heel features 5×5 gold-embroidered doodles, signifying the Air Force 1’s 25th anniversary; the words “CRAZY” on the left foot and “SMILES” on the right foot, in honor of Michael Lau’s infamous “Crazy Smiles” production series.

A limited edition, the Sneakers were produced exclusively for friends and family, with a total of only 18 pairs; the scarcity on the market has caused its price to skyrocket, currently estimated between €11,436.00 to €18,479.00.

Puma Suede “Sample” 50th Anniversary x Michael Lau.

To mark the 50th birthday of the iconic Suede model, Lau has collaborated with Puma on three colorways and as many action figures.

The name “Sample” documents the importance and constant trial and error that an artist or visionary is constantly subjected to in his or her creative process, a crucial process that leads to the creation of something flawless, untouchable and-from the designer’s point of view, perfect.

The Puma Lau have a sleek suede upper, as if they were in work in progress: the zig-zag trim of the fabric swatches are stitched onto the shoes to create an asymmetrical industrial style that conveys a feeling of experimentation, The poppy red color scheme characterizes the sneakers and paints them with a festive vibe. Other details of the design are the different shades and colors of the left and right shoe, manifesting its “mismatched colorway” concept that is synonymous with fun.

Michael Lau x Nike SB Blazer Low “Salvator Michael”.

This low version of the Nike Blazer debuted in 2019 on the occasion of Lau’s exhibition “COLLECT THEM ALL!”; the sneakers draw inspiration from Lau’s character Salvator Michael from the infamous “Gardener” series; his figure is incorporated on the canvas upper print; a fabric often chosen by the artist to paint his works. The canvas has been cut in several places and joined to create a whole sneaker, giving the impression of a collage.

Current starting price: 3,000.00 USD

Michael Lau x Nike Blazer Mid China BMX

This beautiful 2008 Blazer was created to celebrate the entry of Bike Motocross or BMX as a new vertical category of Olympic sports. Lau paid homage to the Beijing Olympic Games with the national colors of the flag of China; the upper is made with red and yellow accents, and the reminder of the nation along the tongue; words like “BMX,” “BEIJING,” and “2008” are printed on the heel, while the associated action figure is CRAZYSMILE, complete with a bike. The box is a masterpiece of design: it depicts a muddy track from BMX races.

Current value: 15,000 to 20,000 EU

Which release would you like to be part of your personal Sneakers Collection!



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